Teen caught with BB gun at Parma park now busted with gun; mom says she can’t stop him

PARMA, Ohio -- The FOX 8 I TEAM has found, a teen who’d been arrested for a BB gun that looked like a handgun got a second chance. But now, the same teen has been busted with an actual, powerful handgun.

The teen, now 16, made headlines last year because of video revealed by the FOX 8 I TEAM. Parma Police arrested the teen and a younger brother when the kids had BB guns that looked like handguns at a park. The teen wrote to a juvenile judge and said he’d learned a lesson. Much about that incident was similar to the one in Cleveland involving 12-year-old Tamir Rice. He was shot and killed by police.

But now, the teen who’d promised to change his ways, has been arrested by Cleveland Police with a 9 millimeter handgun. And the I TEAM found some startling comments from his mother when we went to her apartment on the southeast side of Cleveland.

She said, "He has to learn the right way. I can't stop him." When the I TEAM asked where he got the gun this time, his mother said, "I don't know. Don't know. He was using it for protection. He was walking down the street and people would shoot at him. Nowadays, that's what you need for protection. I don't consider it a good thing."

But what about that letter to the court? The teen wrote he doesn't want to be locked up. Doesn't want a record. But his mom admits he likely simply wrote what the juvenile court wanted to hear. She said, "In some ways he probably did just to stay out of jail. In some ways he probably didn't."

Cuyahoga County prosecutors plan to push to have the teen do time now in a juvenile prison. He’s facing a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. He’s currently sitting in the county juvenile detention center. His mother expects him to get probation, but maybe not.

Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Lorraine Debose said, "We would ask for the most serious sanction." She added, "I think we want everyone to understand, whether adults or juveniles, that no one should have a firearm that they're not allowed to lawfully have."

That mom says she did talk to her son before the Parma BB gun incident and after it. Didn’t matter. She said, “Kids these days need to learn their own lessons. He's learning his lessons."

The teen got arrested this time when a member of the Cleveland Police Gang Impact Unit spotted him with the gun on the street near his apartment.

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